Business, College of


Analysis of the Evolution of Research Areas, Themes, and Methods in Electronic Commerce

Taewon Hwang, University of Nebraska at Lincoln

Document Type Article

A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Business. Under the Supervision of Professor Sang M. Lee.
Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2009
Copyright (c) 2009 Taewon Hwang


The field of Electronic Commerce (EC) has evolved for more than a decade. Despite the growing number of EC publications, few historical analyses have been undertaken to establish the identity of the EC discipline. In order to address this issue, this dissertation developed three classification criteria and evaluated 1,108 EC articles published in three EC specialty journals and four Management Information Systems (MIS) journals over the period from 1996 to 2008.

The results of this dissertation provide meaningful insights of the intellectual core of the EC field. First, a large body of EC research was conducted at the level of the consumer and technology, showing that EC researchers have paid attention to micro level issues. Second, a considerable portion of EC research has been devoted to understanding technology adoption, suggesting wide applications of MIS research to EC research. Third, while survey research has been a clear dominating force, laboratory experiments and secondary data analysis have recently gained substantial recognition. Overall, EC research has exhibited a stable identity that focuses on how EC technologies are developed and how customers adopt them. This study argues that EC research should also address neglected areas in order to survive as a legitimate field of research in the future.

The results of this dissertation can be used not only to understand the nature and progress of EC research but also to identify research opportunities.